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Energize Channel Growth With Training Incentives

Remember how much work it used to be to deliver training out to retail sales associates (RSAs) on the front lines of your channel?  With the right planning and execution however, that work would reap us the reward of building engagement and sales lift out in the channel.  And no wonder: research has shown product knowledge to be one of the top factors in motivating retail sales associates (RSAs) to sell the products they sell.

It is still very important to plan your training smartly and to create engaging, easy-to-use and effective training.  Luckily, today we have plenty of easy to use digital tools such as online Learning Management Systems (LMS) that make scaling and delivery of your training much simpler.

But you want to do more than just load your training into your LMS and hope, don’t you?  Of course you do.

Step One: Get Connected

An emerging trend we are seeing at 360 is that brands are creating leverage by connecting their online Learning Management Systems (LMS) to their incentives software. After all: RSAs aren’t just open to product knowledge training.  They actually want and need your training so that can sell more and thereby earn their living.

Giving them a little spiff at the end of the training or after a short quiz on the training is a great extra nudge, but it’s also just the starting point. Connecting your LMS to your incentives platform is clever because it creates several other significant points of leverage:

Measure The Effects

So, you have fired up your online LMS and you are gaining the ability to quickly deploy the most up to date content to drive retail sales.  You have a window to observe who is taking the training and who is not.  Here’s where it starts getting really good: by linking your LMS to your incentives software, you can start to measure the effectiveness of your training offerings.

Start out by measuring a simple indicator such as the sales difference between retail sales associates (RSAs) who have taken your training and those who have not. Now you can start to test different scenarios – how do tweaks to the training content affect sales figures? How do results compare between video training and e-book or brochure training materials? Do RSAs who take a quiz on the content have better sales numbers than those who simply completed the training and took no quiz? How can you fill in the gaps where the training is not getting uptake?  What if you incent your field sales reps to enlist more RSAs to your training?

Scale and Customize

Being able to measure their training efforts alongside their sales outcomes (via your incentives software) helps you to uncover different ways to get your information into the right hands. Be open to the fact that people learn in different ways – some prefer to read, some prefer to do and some will prefer lecture-style instruction delivered via video. Luckily, digitized training can easily be repurposed into any format and delivered in whichever ways work best.

By benchmarking your early results and then checking it with occasional testing of data samples, you can ensure that your brand continues to eke greater and greater ROI out of your training efforts. Bonus: it’s incredibly motivating for the team who creates the training to be able to view its effectiveness once it has been deployed to the channel. By tracking incremental sales lift associated with new training, teams are empowered and excited to keep improving future versions of all the materials they develop.

Unlock Tiered Rewards

Sales is a field known for having a lot of hyper-competitive types attracted to working in it. Here’s your opportunity to deliver something extra special for those folks. After all, your top performers in the channel are giving a little something extra to your brand in the way of increased sales – why not give them the chance to unlock some tiered rewards by taking extra training?

Tiered rewards are an outstanding way to offer continued incentive for RSAs in your channel to continue to grow their product knowledge. For example, you could offer a base SPIFF to every RSA in the channel, with incrementally higher bronze, silver and gold (even platinum!) level training certification allowing the RSAs to unlock greater rewards.  Once they’ve reached the highest echelon you offer, keep them engaged by offering further training in order to maintain their elite status.

As with any effective business tactic, rewarding for training is not “set it and forget it!” You need flexibility to make changes and data to base those changes on. Having your training and incentives running on one master portal makes it easier to see how your training is affecting sales and makes it easier to do a better job of both your training and channel incentive program design.